When Fiona Milde was inspired to have a little ‘Zen’ influence throughout her interior, little did she imagine the full impact of having the same duplicated in the exterior design.

WORDS Jules Moore DESIGNER Jules Moore PHOTOGRAPHY Scott Espie

Such is the dramatic transformation of this area from an unusable weedy slope with dated paving and old unsafe paving steps, to an outdoor entertaining area that now has a huge ‘wow’ factor, functions beautifully, and ‘sits in the pocket’, like it’s been there forever.

Landscape Designer, Matt McIsaac, along with his client Fiona’s input, have truly outdone themselves.

Outdoor dining table and outdoor kitchen

A subtropical landscape design

Together they designed this area, stepping down from a two metre drop with a series of steps and deck platforms to a lower area containing a boardwalk leading to an outside pavilion. The garden has a strong oriental feel, but with also a splash of sub-tropical, amalgamating the natural bush backdrop with the existing bamboo shelter belt and older aged Acer palmatum tree, which was key to the design.

Set within the built-up area of Kohimarama, one would never guess such a place existed. It’s peaceful and has a serenity about it, secretly drawing you in so you feel you belong there. Such is the draw card of the canvas covered pavilion with its beautiful outdoor furniture, one just daydreams of spending time relaxing within this space while even just looking at it.

Canvas covered pavilion with L shaped outdoor furniture

Creating an outdoor entertainment area

Big on entertaining, Fiona wanted an area where it was functional to dine during the summer months and occasional winter ones, while also having that contemplative outdoor space to go to after a busy day. When searching for the enclosure she was after, oddly she found it overseas. The two-tier canvas-covered roof and diamond-cut balustrades are unique. The canvas not only provides shade during the summer season and shelter from light rain, but also gives the desired look. Without this structure, the outdoor area would be lacking. This destination is truly a focal point to the design.

Based on the measurements of this pagoda, Matt and his team mapped it out and designed the area around it, connecting this to the upper deck. The transition down from the upper deck to the lower boardwalk makes for an interesting journey. The board walk bridges the ‘L’ shaped water feature, which bubbles gently away, circulating the water for Fiona’s goldfish and the water lilies that decorate this rill.


Simple repetitive plantings like dwarf Philodendron Super Atom, run along the side of the water rill, separating and softening the hardness of the timber. Mixed sub-tropical/woodland plantings of tractor seat Ligularia, Bananas, Heliconias, Dypsis Palms and Ferns nestle within the slope with an accompaniment of natural moss rocks. An aged giant pot placed to the right of the pagoda, stands firm on a plinth of decking, commanding respect while housing a huge Cycad.

Asian origin plants in garden between wooden walkway

The final result

The outdoor fire holds dominion over the upper deck. This not only provides the heating during cooler nights, but also creates the ambience along with special lighting that has been installed. The garden becomes alive again in the ‘night-scape’ but takes on a different feel. Bold directive uplighting spotlights certain specimens while softer gaslighting on upright stakes lead you to the pavilion.

Together all these elements have created a wondrous place to be, connecting to the front entrance, the interior and now the back yard exterior. The landscaping welcomes a whole new world of possibility, privacy and living – a blend of two worlds – the oriental and occidental elements for an Asian fusion.

 

You might be interested in reading: Resort style backyard.
 

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This article featured on page 70-75 of Issue 017 of Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.
 

*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.